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Although cellphone shipments and subscription numbers have held up relatively well during the global recession thus far, the outlook is more tumultuous for the mobile industry, reports In-Stat. Both handset sales and subscriptions will take a hit, but In-Stat expects that subscriptions will weather the financial crisis better than handset shipments.

“People that are unemployed are less likely to replace their cellphones, and businesses will not pay for cellphone subscriptions for employees they’ve let go,” said Allen Nogee, In-Stat analyst.

Recent research by In-Stat found that after experiencing a 19.3% growth in subscriptions in 2008, subscription growth will fall by more than half to 8.9% in 2009 and by 6.3% in 2010.

Worldwide, In-Stat is forecasting a 20.5% drop in handset shipments for 2009 compared to 2008. It will take until 2011 for shipments to regain robust growth, a forecasted 9.6% increase. Middle East and Africa will have 75.2 million WCDMA/HSPA/HSPA+ subscriptions by 2013. SC-SCDMA subscriptions in Asia Pacific will rise more than ten-fold between 2009 and 2013.

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